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No. 903 Expeditionary Air Wing is an Expeditionary Air Wing of the Royal Air Force. It is currently based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and is tasked with conducting operations against ISIL in Iraq & Syria It was activated during 2003 as part of a modernisation package to make the RAF more deployable on an expeditionary basis. It was stationed at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan controlling RAF operations at the air base there between Summer 2009 and November 2014. It used to report to No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group.

History



Second World War

The wing was formed during the Second World War.

Operation Telic

The wing was re-commissioned into service during 2003 and sent to Contingency Operating Base Basra as part of Operation Telic. The wing stayed at Basra until May 2009.

Operation Herrick

During mid-2009 the wing was moved to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick. It consisted of: * Westland Sea Kings operated by 845, 846, 854 & 857 Naval Air Squadrons. * An RAF Force Protection Wing * Thales Watchkeeper WK450's operated by 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery & 47th Regiment Royal Artillery. It also supported the following: * Joint Helicopter Force (Afghanistan) that consisted of: ** AgustaWestland Apache's operated by 3 and 4 Regiments Army Air Corps. ** Chinooks operated by No. 1310 Flight RAF. ** Merlin HC2s operated by 28(AC) and 78 Squadrons RAF. ** Elements of Tactical Supply Wing. * Visiting Air Mobility aircraft including: ** Airbus Voyager KC2 and KC3s operated by No. 10 Squadron RAF and 101 Squadron RAF. ** Lockhead Tristar aircraft operated by 216 Squadron RAF. ** Boeing C-17A Globemaster III's operated by No. 99 Squadron RAF. ** Hercules C-130J's operated by 24, 30, 47 & 70 Squadrons RAF. Camp Bastion was handed over to the ANSF as the United Kingdom withdraws from Afghanistan and 903 EAW was stood down in November 2014.


Operation Shader


In December 2015 the Wing reformed at RAF Akrotiri to replace No 140 EAW as part of Operation Shader. It consists of: * Elements of the RAF Tornado Force (10 x Tornado GR4 strike aircraft) (Retired in February 2019) * Elements of the RAF Typhoon Force (9 x Typhoon FGR.4 multirole fighter aircraft (6 active, 3 reserve)) * Elements of the RAF Air Mobility Force: ** 2 x Hercules C5 transport aircraft (1 withdrawn during 2014) ** 2 x Voyager KC3 tanker aircraft * Elements of the RAF ISTAR Force: ** 2 x Sentinel R1 ISTAR aircraft from No. V(AC) Squadron ** 2 x Sentry AEW1 AEW&C aircraft from No. 8 Squadron Aircraft have been using RAF Akrotiri as their home base whilst carrying out these operations. In February 2019, the Tornado force returned to RAF Marham for retirement. Their role in theatre is being undertaken by the Typhoon detachment.

Commanders

* Group Captain Paul Burt (Op TELIC 9/10 May-Nov 2007) * Group Captain Mike Wigston (Nov 2007 - Apr 2008) * Group Captain Andrew (during 2008). * Wing Commander Ian Richardson (during 2009). * Wing Commander Mark Flewin (2014). * Group Captain Charles Dickens (2019). * Group Captain Jonathon Moreton (Apr 19 - Oct 19). * Group Captain Ian Townsend (Oct 19 - Feb 20). * Wing Commander Calvin Bailey (Feb 20 - Jul 20).

See also

* International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) * Operation Herrick aerial order of battle

References

{{Reflist|30em No. 903 Wing